BioWare on how the Mass Effect 3 controversy shaped Mass Effect Andromeda

Chris Stead 28 March 2017

mass-effect-3-andromeda

While talking to finder.com.au, BioWare producer Fabrice Condominas provided an overview of how the studio approaches its games after the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy.

It was unprecedented. So vocal was the gaming community with its displeasure in the way BioWare wrapped up its sprawling Mass Effect trilogy with 2012’s Mass Effect 3, that the developer changed it. It’s still hard to believe that it actually happened. In the face of a good old-fashioned Internet group-trolling, BioWare bowed to public pressure. It patched its game, removing the intended ending and replacing it with something more agreeable to its fans.

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It was about as high-profile a story as you can get in the games industry. It was a disgrace - both the fan’s reaction and the resulting amendment. But the incident should at least ensure such a debacle never happens again.

Mass Effect Andromeda’s producer Fabrice Condominas recently brought the game out to Australia on a press tour and we had a chance to talk to him. Our conversation covered a number of subjects - such as the addition of one night stands to the game’s sex engine and how the new engine impacted the visuals – but also included the reaction to the Mass Effect 3 ending. What affect did that have on the team and the vision for Mass Effect Andromeda for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC? Here is how the conversation went.

There was plenty of blowback with the ending of Mass Effect 3 - rightly or wrongly – but it makes me wonder if you are nervous at all about the ending of Mass Effect Andromeda. It’s fair to say it will be scrutinised more than the ending of most other games.

I think it will be scrutinised definitely; it’s already scrutinised. Obviously, there is a legacy and we knew that when we started the game: we knew we were playing with that legacy. The important thing is that we have done our work the best that we can and our job is to create the best stories you can play. This is what we try to do. This is what we tried to do with the last game. And at this point, it is now out of our hands.

So did that whole saga have any impact on the way BioWare now makes games or on your relationship with publisher EA?

Radically, no. But obviously, it did make us think about a number of elements more. Like focusing on the journey. We’re storytellers, so that’s important and we want to make sure that if players spend tens of hours on this game that it all matters. Even mechanically you will see it with Mass Effect Andromeda, that when you are done with the story – when you have reached its end – the game isn’t done. You can go back and explore more planets, accumulating some lore and knowledge. So it taught us to re-shift our focus to the journey.
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